Temperature Color Dependence

Some years ago a researcher by the name of Brian Viets published a paper showing the effects temperature had on melanin in leopard geckos during egg incubation. Basically he proved that at low temps (80F range) clutch mates had more black pigment laid down in the skin during incubation than those incubated at the 90F range. (a chapter on this subject can be found in THE LEOPARD GECKO MANUAL.)

Over my years of daily work with these geckos (prior to the appearance of the first amelanistic albinos) I noticed, like many fellow breeders, that high yellow males tended to be more colorful than high yellow females, which totally agreed with Viets' findings. It does not take too much thought to then carry this finding to the next level and ask yourself if all other skin pigments could be effected by temperature in leopard geckos. My findings strongly suggest this is true.

When the color black became absent, as in the new amelanistic albino lines, it was much easier to conduct a study on the other skin pigments. Pictured below are two clutch mates. The photos speak volumes by themselves. I have repeated this temperature test on over 200 clutch mates and 100% of the findings were the same. In this case the parents were tangerine albinos.

In the gallery below, the female albino hatchling on the left was incubated at 80F for 62 days. Her clutch mate brother was incubated at 90F for 34 days.

To the right of the images is the same two siblings at 7 months of age.

My tests show that the lower the incubation temperature the more the darker pigments are laid down in the skin. Hence the brown pigment displayed in all albino leopard gecko lines is the result of temperature and not genetics, which explains how some breeders have all "pretty" albinos and some do not. These results now give the breeder a great advantage to get the best possible offspring from their projects.

In the near future, I will be posting photos of albinos that have changed color from light to dark after hatching due to exposure to temperatures below 84F even as adults. This is a phenomena unique to leopard geckos. Keeping your albinos with a 90F hot spot all the time will prevent this migration of pigment in their skin.

All other information regarding this subject is on my Temperature Color Dependence FAQ page.

United States - GTS